Italy's exit from the World Cup has been blamed on ageing defenders, unimaginative play, and so on, but I think there's a more direct reason: Buffon's injury. All the three goals conceded by Italy against Slovakia can be attributed to errors by Marchetti, Buffon's replacement -- inability to adapt to an unforeseen loss of possession at the edge of the box (goal #1), not fully covering the near post (#2), and being a step too late to smother the attack (#3). The reason for the attack being lacklustre was Pirlo's absence; witness the improvement in the accuracy of passing and the incisiveness once he came on.
My already low opinion of footballers has sunk even lower, watching their histrionics. Unless something is done to curb their cynical behaviour (allowing post-match usage of video footage to dish out liberal punishment would be a start), using 'football' and 'beautiful game' in the same sentence would make sense only if there is a 'not' somewhere in between.
Some vuvuzela humour (courtesy Reddit):